Baby Care

Neonatal leave bill and tips bill a step closer to becoming law

Two long-awaited bills – one that makes it illegal for employers to withhold tips from workers, and another that gives employees the right to neonatal leave and pay – have passed a crucial stage in the House of Commons.

On Friday (20 January) MPs voted through the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill and the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, which will soon be debated in the House of Lords before becoming law.

If the neonatal leave bill is passed, parents of newborn babies who require hospital care would be able to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave in addition to other parental leave entitlements such as maternity, paternity and shared parental leave.

The bill’s explanatory notes say that if the bill successfully completes all of its parliamentary stages in 2023 it could be implemented around 18 months after the date it passes.

SNP MP Stuart McDonald, who is sponsoring the bill, said he was grateful for the cross-party support the proposals had received.

Caroline Lee-Davey, chief executive of the charity Bliss, which supports parents of premature babies, said the neonatal leave and pay bill would support the parents of the 90,000 babies who need neonatal care each year.

“The bill is expected to make a huge difference to families across the country who have a baby born premature or full term and sick,” she said. “It will allow them to be by their baby’s side in hospital playing a hands-on role in their care, which we know is best for babies and for families.”

The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill sees the creation of a new statutory code of practice which will provide employers and staff with advice on how tips should be distributed.

Workers will receive a new right to request more information about an employer’s tipping record, enabling them to bring forward a claim to an employment tribunal should they wish.

The tips bill was sponsored by Conservative MP Virginia Crosby. She said: “The overhaul of tipping practices will ensure millions of UK workers will be able to take home more of their hard-earned cash by preventing employers from withholding tips from their staff.

“Despite most hospitality workers – many of whom are earning the national minimum wage – relying on tips, there are still many businesses who fail to pass on service charges from customers to staff.

“It is not fair that workers do not receive the tips they have earned, and I am really pleased I am playing my part in making sure this unfairness ends as this bill enters its final stages in parliament.”

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